By: Greta Roberts, Conference Chair, Predictive Analytics World for Workforce 2015

In anticipation of his upcoming Predictive Analytics World for Workforce conference presentation, ABN-AMRO’s 2-year Journey with HR Predictive Analytics, we interviewed Patrick Coolen, Manager HR Analytics at ABN-AMRO Bank.  View the Q-and-A below to see how Patrick Coolen has incorporated predictive analytics into the workforce of ABN-AMRO Bank.  Also, glimpse what’s in store for the new PAW Workforce conference.

Q: In your work with predictive analytics, what specific areas of the workforce are you focused on?

A: Our mission is moving HR towards fact-based decision making. Fact-based decision making that also supports HR itself but primarily our business. For this we conduct different research projects that aim to optimize e.g. workforce productivity, business productivity or client satisfaction. We also invest in training our HR staff so that they can identify the opportunities HR analytics is offering.

Q: Do you primarily work inside of HR – or inside of the Line of Business?  If Line of Business – which one(s):

A: Our analytical team reports within HR. But 80% of our research is focused on a real business opportunity or problem. Therefore we intensively work together with senior business management and their subject matter experts. Some examples of lines of business we do research for are: retail, large corporates, IT, private banking and transaction banking.

Q: What workforce outcomes do your models predict?

A: In most cases we run models predicting client satisfaction or financial outcomes like revenue, profit or target realization and in some cases we also predict the quality of our products or engagement.

Q: What is one specific way in which predictive analytics actively drives decisions?

A: Predictive analytics can help our organization to focus on what really matters. Do we believe all types of leadership are important or can we determine which one is more effective in a certain context? Also predictive analytics can help us evaluate the impact of HR interventions like our leadership program. Both examples allow us to improve decision making. 

Q: Can you describe a successful result, such as the predictive lift of one of your models or the ROI of a predictive analytics initiative?

A: In one of our research projects we managed to predict products sold in a business unit based on HR data including engagement survey data. The research results were made actionable and are input for the strategic people plan of the business unit involved.

Q: What area of the workforce do you think has seen (or will see) the greatest advances or ROI from the use of predictive analytics?

A: I do not think predictive analytics is more beneficial for a specific area of the workforce. We already saw some good results in multiple lines of business. However the line of business that has the ‘best’ business data can expect to receive the best results from analytics. The ‘best’ data can mean

  • financial data on employee level instead of on department level or
  • the availability of historical data or
  • the availability of high frequency process data on human behaviour like call handling data

Q: Why do you think Business Leaders, HR Leaders and Analytics professionals should attend Predictive Analytics World for Workforce?

A: Because they are all a piece of the puzzle. Predictive analytics is not only about data scientists. The different areas of expertise have to work closely together to make predictive analytics successful.

Q: What is one misunderstanding people have about using predictive analytics to solve employee challenges?

A: Many organizations do not know how to start or set up predictive HR analytics. One misunderstanding is that you need large investments in technology or skills. Start small and learn fast. If you have a relevant dataset you can start with analytics today. Depending on your own maturity in terms of statistics and/ or machine learning ask a vendor to help you with the basics. 

Q: How involved has the business unit been in the work you’ve done inside of your organization?

A: In all our research that is focused on predicting business outcomes the business itself is intensively involved. This is true for all our lines of business.

Q: SNEAK PREVIEW:  Please tell us a take-away that you will provide during your Presentation at Predictive Analytics World for Workforce.

A: I will talk about the 10 golden rules of HR analytics (see also LinkedIn under my profile). I will address our lessons learned while setting up analytics and conducting research. Then we will present a case study of one of our real research projects. This will be presented together with Luk Smeyers (iNostix).

Don't miss Patrick Coolen’s conference presentation, ABN-AMRO’s 2-year Journey with HR Predictive Analytics at PAW Workforce, on Wednesday, April 1, 2015, from 11:15-11:45 am. Click here to register for attendance

By: Greta Roberts, CEO, Talent Analytics, Corp. @gretaroberts and Conference Chair of Predictive Analytics World for Workforce